I recently had the absolute pleasure of experiencing one of Scott Portelli’s ‘Swimming with Gentle Giants’ tours in Tonga and I was blown away. But first, some back story… I am actually a professional traveler and instagrammer and literally spend my life traveling to the best places in the world doing incredible experiences all the time. And yet, by the end of my two weeks in Tonga I had named it the “Best Trip I’ve Ever Done!” It’s a coveted title, with previous title holders including my first trip to Alberta Canada, the aurora in Northern Finland and a luxury cruise in Australia’s Kimberley region. What makes a great trip? For me it’s always a combination of a great destination, a life changing experience and wonderful people and Scott ticked all the boxes. He’s such a lovely man with such a genuine love for what he does, it’s a pleasure to be around. And then you get in the water and it’s actually impossible to describe how you feel when you come face to face with the whales. Combine this with the chill vibes of Tonga and you’ve got a trip of a lifetime on your hands. I’m already scheming how to get back next year, I urge anyone to do this tour and book now because the secret it well and truly out.
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I first traveled to Tonga in 2009 for research on my Masters. I worked with several tour operators, including Swimming with Gentle Giants (SWGG), to assess whale swimming in The Kingdom of Tonga.
As the small plane flew from the mainland of Tongatapu we looked out of the windows of the plane, admiring coral reefs and beautiful blue waters.We were looking forward to a well earned break, relaxing on tropical islands, snorkelling in coral reefs, and swimming with humpback whales!
Oh WOW… my first ever whale experience and is was mind blowing. Being in the water with those beautiful creatures is a once in a lifetime trip, except I want to go back – and I will!!!